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Old 12-29-2008, 02:15 AM   #1
IwanaBrich
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I haven't brewed any beer for at least 5 years and I recently decided that I wanted to start up again. So yesterday I brewed a 5 gallon batch of Amber Ale (malt extract from a kit) and the fermentation stopped after 1 day. Could it be finished or will it start up again? Should I transfer it into my carboy now, or should I wait a couple more days?

Also, I never saw such a violent fermentation. I use a white 7.5 gallon bucket as the primary and then transfer into a 5 gallon glass carboy. This is the first time that fermentation actually got into the airlock. Usually there is enough room in the 7 1/2 gallon bucket to allow for the bubbles and suds and I didn’t need to use a blow off tube. Not only was there brown junk in the airlock, there was also some on the top (outside) of the pail. It must have come through the airlock. I cleaned off the top and quickly cleaned the airlock. Did I screw up my batch? Should I go back to using a blow off tube?



 
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:20 AM   #2
mbird
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It is unusual that 5 gals. would ferment in 1 day, but possible. I would need more details.
What was the original gravity of the beer?
What type and how much yeast did you pitch?
What was the temp. during fermentation?
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:26 AM   #3
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It's not unusual for main fermentation to be done in one day. That does not mean that your yeast is finished with it's job. It may have a few more points to ferment down as well as clean up it's waste and clear your beer.

Leave it for a least a week to 10 days, then take an hydrometer reading. If it is at it's FG, you can rack to secondary for a couple weeks OR you can leave it in the primary for a couple more weeks before bottling.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:36 AM   #4
IwanaBrich
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Good questions!

I used the following:
1 can of Muntons Hopper Amber Malt Extract
2 lbs of Light Dried Malt Extract
1 package Muntons Ale yeast
1 package of hops pellets (HBU 13%)

The specific gravity was 1.032 which was lower than the instructions said it should be. They said it should be 1.042-1.044.

The room temperature is about 65-66 degrees.

 
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IwanaBrich View Post
I haven't brewed any beer for at least 5 years and I recently decided that I wanted to start up again. It must have come through the airlock. I cleaned off the top and quickly cleaned the airlock. Did I screw up my batch?
No, but I always use blowoff tube. It may seem to not be fermenting in a pail but most of the time it just leaks through the lid rather than push through the water. It's still fermenting! Let it finish fermenting for at least 2 to 3 weeks.

Quote:
Should I go back to using a blow off tube?
It does not matter now as the vigorous fermentation is over.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:15 AM   #6
mbird
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That seems like a pretty low O.G. so I can see how it would ferment quickly. I'm still a little surprised by the volitile fermentation. In any case, you could check your gravity now and see where it's at. With a starting gravity of 1.032 I suspect that your final gravity will be down in the 1.006 range to be complete. You should leave the beer in the primary until the krauesen settles leaving the surface of the beer relatively clear (4-6 days). Then you can rack to a secondary container or as I often do, just bottle it with the appropriate amount of priming sugar.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:33 AM   #7
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I suspect that your OG reading was off since you have over 5 lbs of malt in that beer. With a kit it's almost impossible for your gravity to be different than what the recipe says, however, it is VERY common to not get the wort and top off water mixed thoroughly. The wort being heavier than the water sinks to the bottom so when you take your reading it's mostly top off water giving you a low reading.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:22 PM   #8
IwanaBrich
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I guess its possible that I screwed up the measurement, but I did stir it a lot. I checked for air leaks and didn't see any, ther fermenter seems tight.

I looked at the batch this this morning and I didn't see any activity at all. I also noticed that the upside down cup inside the air lock was all the way down resting on tube insde, almost as if there was negative presure inside fermenter.


 
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:43 PM   #9
IwanaBrich
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I thought an update was in order. Since there was no activity for over a day I decided to open the bucket and see what was going on inside. (This is why I'm not sold on plastic buckets) When I opened it up I recieved a wonderfull Hops odor and no bleachy or odd odors which I was afraid of. I then took a hydrometer reading and it was about 1.008-1.010, so I guess it's finished fermenting. I then transfered it into a carboy (my new 6 gallon better bottle). Oddly enough it started to ferment again, but by this morning it was guiet again and its already starting to settle out.

I spoke to my local HBS and he agreed with all of your comments. I think i may have caused the problem myself. The directions said to sprinkle the yeast over the wort when it reached 90 degrees. Instead I pitched the yeast for about 30 minutes in warm sterilized water and added it when the wort when it reached 90 degress. The HBS guy thought that I should have let it cool more. He thought that must have given the yeast a real head start, which explains the fast fermentation He said I was lucky, that fermenting too fast can ruin the beer.

Hopefully I dodged the bad beer bullet!

This is such a great a great web site!. Lastly I really appreciated all of your comments and suggestions!

Bob

 
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:33 PM   #10
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You went ahead and racked it into secondary after only 2 days?

Nooooooooooooo!


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